Lullaby by Leïla Slimani

There are no surprises in this novel. We know right from the start that two children have been murdered by their nanny. Their deaths are recounted in spine-chilling detail — a warm bath and a sharp sushi knife. 

Myriam and Paul are the Parisian equivalent of yuppies. Paul works in the music industry while Myriam is a passionate lawyer. However, she finds herself becoming restless with her life as a stay-at-home mother after the birth of their two beautiful children. She longs to go back to work on the condition that reliable help can be found. The couple's prayers are answered in the form of Louise, a widow and a fastidious nanny whose gift for handling the children soon render her indispensable to the household. However, the real horror of the story gradually unfolds when the reader witnesses Louise becoming increasingly unhinged and when the details of her brutal past come to light. Readers are treated not just to a page-turning thriller but a glimpse into the psyche of a fragile and irreparably damaged individual. The novel left me with a sense of unease but it also left me thinking without a doubt: I had just experienced a brilliant piece of writing.


by Dawn Tan